How Have the Mormon Communities Been Affected by the Opiate Crisis in Utah?
Statewide, Mormons account for nearly 62% of the population, and within Salt Lake County they account for more than 49% of the population. However, drug addiction has affected this community and in 2014, it was estimated that one-third of adults in Utah were prescribed pain medication. Many of the adults were among the large Mormon population within the state, and opioid dependence and addiction is a common problem within many Mormon families in Utah. Since 2000 there has been a 400% increase in prescription drug-related deaths and one person dies each day because of a prescription drug overdose. When you include the deaths from heroin, the number rises by almost half.
Most of the recorded deaths are among people who became hooked on prescription pain medication. There has been a widespread problem within the Mormon communities, and many Mormons turn to these drugs as a way to cope with the devout lifestyle. Pain medications were aggressively marketed in the early 1990s, with nobody recognizing the addictive potential. Mormon and non-Mormon families alike are affected by prescription pain medication. These drugs create devastating addictions. The Utah Department of Health was awarded state funding to address the opioid epidemic. Since the funding and new programs have been implemented, there has been a decrease in prescription opioid deaths.
However, the increase in heroin-related deaths has taken the place of prescription opioids. This is a growing trend throughout the nation because of the crackdown on prescription opioids and the increased demand for heroin within the nation. Many states have taken preventative measures such as Utah and building up the drug treatment services. If you are struggling with opioid addiction in Utah, there is help available. Throughout the state are inpatient and outpatient drug rehab centers to help addicts and their families who are struggling with opioid addiction.